Lionel Richie had us wanting to party all night long!

Photos: Julian Carelsen Photography

I had the privileged of attending the Lionel Richie concert held at Moses Mabida stadium on Sunday the 13th March (Disclosure: this was my first time entering MMS and I was pleasantly surprised – it really is one of the most beautiful landmarks in Durban.) After taking in all that the MMS is, getting to our seats and after opening act Zonke, we were welcomed by the one and only… Mr. Lionel Richie.

 “Hello, is it me you’re looking for?” he asked. And the crowd.went.wild!

From that very first moment the tone of the evening was set, we knew we were in for a great night.

Lionel’s interaction with the crowd was awesome, many artists I have seen perform live come on stage, do their thing and leave, but not Lionel. He took the time to speak to us between songs which made the entire concert that much more intimate, he showed his funny side by imitating some “interesting” dance moves he was witnessing from the front row, he even took some time out to pose for some selfies, all while encouraging the crowd to dance and sing along!

He described the three groups of people that were present that evening:

  1. The people that knew him when he was in the Commodores
  2. The people that knew him when he released All Night Long
  3. The people that were too young to even know who he was… and he took it upon himself to educate this group of concert goers that evening

The story goes like this…

He described the situation where you had just broken up with your partner and devastated you run home in tears, grab your CD (your record, your cassette tape, your 8 track…) and you call, Lionel Richie! He would then entertain us with a series of songs that would us help us though this difficult situation.

He repeated several different scenarios and gave the same advice of running home to grab your CD (your record, your cassette tape, your 8 track…) by this time the whole audience were finishing off his sentences and screaming, “LIONEL RICHIE!” He very smoothly replied, “Damn right you do.”

One of my highlights was after announcing that he couldn’t get Diana Ross to join him on his tour he suggested that; “you be Ms. Ross and I’ll be me,” and together we sang My Endless Love…

The stadium as a venue was great; the cool breeze running through was much needed, due to all the dancing and singing. Although the stadium is huge, the design of the interior doesn’t make it feel disconnected; even with thousands of people at the concert, it still felt like an intimate affair.  The band was equally entertaining especially the very talented saxophonist who, at one point was even playing while lying down!

 

Lionel Richie himself has a charisma that is infectious… everyone was feeding off of his energy, making it one of the best concerts I’ve been to! The last song of the night was a tribute to the song Lionel had written with the late Michael Jackson, We Are the World… the stadium was filled with electricity, everyone singing together in perfect harmony. On the walk to the parking lot when leaving the stadium, everyone started up singing again, We Are the World

The atmosphere was truly remarkable, everyone left in a good mood and feeling enthusiastic. Don’t be alarmed if you missed the concert, he assured us that he would be returning to Durban and soon and we hope that Big Concerts can make this happen for us!